by David Bent; Team Rector
At his last supper with his disciples, Jesus said to them ‘It is good for you that I am going away’ (John 16:7). Abba put it slightly differently when they sang ‘Breaking up is never easy, I know, but I have to go. Knowing me, knowing you, it’s the best I can do.’
I know we’re not ‘breaking up’ in the Abba sense, but moving on is not easy. I doubt it was easy for Jesus and his disciples or for Abba, but there came a time when it was right, and the moving on allowed something else to grow. For Jesus and the disciples it was the sending of the Holy Spirit and the growth of the Early Church. For Abba it was new careers. For us and for you, I believe ‘it is good that I go away’, and also that ‘knowing me, knowing you, it’s the best I can do’.
Helen and I have loved our time in The Rivers Team for what will be almost nineteen years. We have made some great friendships and have seen God at work in many lives. We have felt loved and supported during difficult times and have seen much growth and development in the mission and ministry of the church. These are things that we will take away with us and treasure. I trust there are things that you too will treasure.
The decision to move on was not easy, and had many facets to it. In ministry terms I believe that The Rivers Team is in a good place to continue its mission and ministry until a new Team Rector is appointed who will build on the foundations that we have laid together. I also feel that I would like to continue in ministry for longer, but not on a full time basis. And in practical terms, moving on now allows a decent transition for The Rivers Team in terms of the timings of mine, Helen’s and Margaret’s retirements.
Helen and I will be moving to Northamptonshire (Peterborough Diocese) in the middle of February, where I will take up a half-time post on March 2nd, leading The Walgrave Benefice. This is a group of four rural parishes with a total population of 1,900 people. The churches have a vision for mission and church growth and are looking for leadership to help them work more closely together as a joint benefice. Helen will be licenced to the benefice as Associate Priest while continuing with her work for RSCM / Praxis.
God says to all of us, through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ (Jeremiah 29:11). Life has its share of change and challenge, of hardships and disappointments, but God’s plans and purposes for us are always for good. We look forward to seeing how his plans for all of you unfold and maybe you will look forward to seeing how his plans for us unfold too.